This Water Source Could Really Save Your Life
For Your Survival Your Number 1 Priority is to Find a Reliable Water Source
One of the top survival priorities in any emergency is to find a reliable clean water source. But that’s just the thing how do you know for certain that the water you have found is clean and safe enough for drinking?
Well the answer to that is no matter how clean the water looks there could be all manner of contaminants in that clean cup of water. But it could be that the dirty looking water is safe enough to drink, it may not be pleasant, but it won’t make you sick.
The truth is that you will never know for certain, not unless you know the original water’s source, like a true mountain river or stream, so the answer is to boil everything then you will know for sure that you have got rid of all potentially harmful bugs and bacteria.
It may be okay if you have been able to store fresh clean drinking water but failing that you will always need to fetch water, disinfect it sufficiently for your needs, ideally sufficient for 2 to 3 days.
Whether your crisis is unfolding in the desert, the mountains or even at home following some form of natural disaster, the human body can only last three days without any drinking water at all.
However, before you can disinfect the water, you must find it and that would always be your priority because the human body can only last for around 3 days without water of any description.
So, depending on your location and situation, water can be abundant or virtually non-existent. Water can come from freshwater surface sources like streams, creeks, ponds, and lakes. If you can distil the water, you can even use brackish or salty water as a source because you can treat it if you know how.
In this article, I’m going to assume that you have found water and that you must now treat this water before drinking.
To kill the parasites, bacteria, and other pathogens, you must boil the water for a good 5 minutes to kill most organism’s, but 10 minutes is better still. Boiling alone may not get rid of all chemical pollution but it is still by far the safest method of disinfection. If you don’t have a suitable fireproof container, scout around for any other bowl like container, then heat rocks and drop them into smaller amounts of water.
Given a scenario where you have no safe water, you are left with no other option except to distil the water you have.
Radiation, lead, salt, heavy metals, and many other contaminants can taint your water supply after a disaster and trying to filter them out will only ruin your expensive water filter.
So, in this scenario, you need to try a number of distillation methods. One of which is a simple Sun or Solar Still. This collects and distills water in a hole in the ground, first you need to locate a sunny spot to build the still. Ideally, there would be grass or other vegetation around, and the soil damp, the water vapor will form underneath the tarp and fall into the container for you to drink from.
So, you will need approximately 5 to 6 feet of plastic sheeting which you would place over a three-foot-deep hole in the ground. A clean container would be placed under the plastic sheeting.
It would be better if you could find a long tube to place into the container, so you could drink directly from the container without disturbing the whole still.
To stop the sheet from blowing around you will need to put weight onto its outer edges, stones, rocks or even soil will do. The place a rock in the center of the sheet to hold it down and over the collection container to encourage the water to fall into it.
- Survival Straws
These are a recent edition for survivalists or even for folks walking camping or hiking in the wilderness areas as an emergency element of their pack. Its simplicity and light weight make it attractive to carry in such circumstances. It is straw like water filter that allows you to drink untreated water.
Newer models can be used as you would a drinking straw and can also connect to the drain valve on a water heater to clean up the water you might find in a water heater after a disaster. They can also fit onto a garden hose to filter the water running through it. Don’t expect it to filter out every single virus or bacteria that could be growing in there, though—especially a hose that’s been laying in the sun, or a water heater full of tepid water after a prolonged power outage. Most of these filters contain an activated carbon filter element, which not only filters out larger bacteria and pathogens but also removes odd flavors and odors from the water.
- Emergency Water Filters
There are two main types of water filters currently in use today, they are the pump-action filters and drip/suction filters. The pump action filter forces the untreated water through a filter cartridge just like with The Survivor Filter PRO
The latter are filter cartridges that use a gravity drip action (like an IV bag) just like the PlatipusGravitiyWorks 4L Kit or are placed in line on hydration bladder hoses. When used on a hydration bladder, the user simply sucks water through the filter as needed.
A favourite among is the survival community is The Katadyn Pocket Microfilter.
It has a ceramic cartridge with silver imbedded inside. The ceramic filters out the larger pathogens, and the silver kills or disables smaller organisms like viruses. Most filters like this will pump about a quart per minute. If time isn’t an issue, you might opt for a gravity-fed system like the one shown here.
- Ultraviolet Light Devices
UV light is very damaging to small organisms. When used as a disinfection method, it’s really efficient at killing these damaging organisms. UV light otherwise known as Black Light can be used by the survivor to great effect when used as a disinfection method, Devices like the Steripen Sidewinder are battery-free, hand-cranked water purification devices that disrupt the DNA of illness-causing microbes in mere seconds. There are also a few battery-powered Steripen products that pack the same punch on bad bugs, and have been field-proven around the globe. These are not 100-percent effective in water with large floating particles (which pathogens can hide behind or inside), but for clear water of questionable origin these devices will do the trick.
- Solution Water Disinfection
Solar water disinfection (SODIS for short) is a water treatment method that uses the sun’s energy for disinfection. The most common technique is to expose plastic bottles full of contaminated water to the sun for a minimum of one day. The sun’s abundant UV light kills or damages almost all biological hazards in the water. This is a cheap and easy method for getting rid of many of the harmful bugs which cause diarrhea. It provides good (but not complete or guaranteed) bacterial and viral disinfection. Another good thing is that it doesn’t use dangerous chemicals, and it does not require constant attention.
But there are some potential problems with the method too. You need good sunny weather or two days of the overcast sky to reach the maximum effectiveness on a bottle of water. You cannot use it in any rain, at night or in really overcast skies, it may be less effective against bacterial spores and cyst stages of some parasites, the water, and the bottle need to be clear and the bottle needs to be clear plastic, not glass. Finally, this method does nothing to help with chemical contamination and only up to two liters of water can be treated at a time, unless you have a number of bottles at your disposal.
There are mainly two chemicals that can be used in water purification, they both seem to be better than 99-percent effective against water-borne pathogens.
Two of the most common and popular water disinfection tablets are S.O.S. Emergency Water 5 Year Shelf Life Tablets and Potable Aqua’s iodine tablets. They can both work very effectively, but there are some differences. If you’re stocking a cabin, cave, or Bug-Out-Shelter with purification tablets, you certainly want to consider the lifespan of the product. The iodine tablets from Potable Aqua have a one-year shelf life. That’s not bad, but The S.O.S. Tablets have a 5-year shelf life. While these two products are using different chemicals, they are both 99-percent effective against water-borne pathogens.
Potable Aqua is the clear winner when it comes to speed. The water treated with these tablets is ready to drink 35 minutes after treatment begins. One final thought to consider is the side effects.
The toxicity and flavor of iodine can be a little problematic. The iodine tablets are generally not a good choice for pregnant women or anyone with thyroid issues or shellfish allergies. Picky children are also notorious for failing to drink the iodine-infused water, and this could quickly lead to dehydration and other serious repercussions in an already dicey emergency.
Any chlorine based product does have the chlorine smell about it but most of that should disappear after the allotted 4-hour treatment of the water, so that product is widely tolerated and tastes much better.
- Using Household Chemicals
As a last resort you could use items from home such as Bleach or Iodine but you must use caution to disinfect your water with safe results.
Generally speaking, the amount of the chemical you use will depend on the water quality and temperature. Cold or murky water needs a little more disinfectant up to four drops per quart, compared with 2 drops for warm or clear water.
Once you have added the chemical, put the lid back on your water container and shake it for a minute. Then turn the bottle upside down, and unscrew the cap a turn, or two. Let a small amount of water flow out to clean the bottle threads and cap. Screw the lid back on tight, and wipe the exterior of the bottle to get the chlorine on all surfaces. Set the bottle in a dark place, or at least in the shade, and let it sit for 30 minutes if the water is clear and at room temperature. When you open the bottle after the allotted time, it should smell like chlorine. If not, add another drop or two and wait another 30 minutes. Don’t take chances or shortcuts with water safety. The last thing you need in an emergency is dysentery.
You can also use the two common forms of iodine to disinfect your water. Iodine is a more harmful substance than bleach in most people’s bodies, but it is an option. To use iodine, it is critical to identify which type you are using. Tincture of iodine 2% is actually much stronger than 10% povidone-iodine solution. Use 5 to 10 drops of tincture of iodine 2% in one quart of water and allow it to sit in the shade for 30 minutes. Again, flush the threads and wipe down the bottle. Use 5 drops for clear or warm water, and up to 10 for cold or cloudy water. Since 10% povidone-iodine solution is weaker, you’ll need 8 to 16 drops per quart of water. Again, use fewer drops for nice looking water and 16 drops for swamp water. Clean the bottle and wait. An added benefit to iodine products is that you can use them for wound disinfections too. Chlorine does not serve double duty like this, and you should never put bleach on any wounds. Never blend iodine and chlorine for water disinfection.
- Build Your Own Water Filter
We’ve all seen the survival books displaying a water filter made from different substances, charcoal is one of them but this alone will not create bacteria-free and virus-free water to drink. Ideally, you need a number of items to filter the different types and sizes of contaminants.
You could make a filter made from the flexible hose, glue, and a chunk of pine sapwood. The sapwood’s structure already performs a filtering action in the living wood, screening out air bubbles from the tree sap. Unchecked, these air bubbles would lead to tissue damage.
This type of filter has some humanitarians looking hard at conifer wood as a readily available material for water filtration devices in developing nations. Researchers have successfully used a one-cubic-inch block of pine sapwood as a water filter. (Click here to see their research article.) This chunk of wood was attached to a water supply by using a PVC pipe and some epoxy to prevent water from bypassing the wood filter. Flow rates of several quarts a day were reached in their trials, and E. coli was eliminated by 99.9 percent. These are amazingly the same numbers you’ll see from straw-style water filters. Though the wood might allow some viruses to pass through (since they are much smaller than bacteria), some water filtration is better than none.
9. Just Drink It!
Drinking raw water is certainly a gamble. Even in pristine wilderness areas, the water can be contaminated with all kinds of bowel-churning pathogens. Unless you are lucky enough to find a spring that is issuing clean water out of the natural water table, drinking unprocessed water is risky at best. If there’s any way to process the water, it should be attempted before you say “bottoms up” to unprocessed water. But there are always exceptions. If death from dehydration is near, and you cannot treat the water, drink it anyway. It’s better to be alive and sickened with pathogens, than dead and pathogen free. But I would seriously consider carefully your options at this point.
Be extremely careful with water filters! They block bacteria which is then left behind in the filter, these will massively multiply to a dangerous level. As an exercise use the filter for a few days then leave it for a month. Then cut it open and see the massive furry growth inside which is the bacteria – it’s shocking. If all you have is a filter use it once and throw it away.
In order to have better protection use a water purifier that meets or exceeds ANSI/NSF 53 and P231 standards for water purifiers meeting this standard, they kill bacteria, cysts, and viruses.
Don’t use chemicals such as water purification tablets or bleach as you don’t know the long-term issues they can medically cause.
If you want to buy a pocket-sized water purifier that has replaceable cartridges and meets the highest water purification standards you need the Pure2Go Water Purifier from Water One Inc
- Kills Waterborne Bacteria and Viruses and removes Crypto and Giardia on contact and on demand
- Kills 99.9999% Bacteria, Kills 99,997% Viruses, Removes 99.997% Protozoa, Significantly Reduces Radioactive Contamiants
- Pure2Go exceeds NSF/ANSI P231 and 53 standards for a water purifier
- Removable, replaceable and cleanable purification insert cartridges
- 3 U.S. Patents & 2-Year Limited Warranty